The Listening Post

Oct 17 2020 20 mins 14.9k

A weekly programme that examines and dissects the world's media, how they operate and the stories they cover.





























China's Pushback: Beijing questions Western reporting on Xinjiang | The Listening Post (Full)
Jul 25 2020 26 mins  
Despite China's best efforts, journalists are finding innovative ways to tell the story of the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province. Contributors: Timothy Grose - Assistant Professor of China Studies, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Alim Seytoff - Director of Uyghur Service, Radio Free Asia Adrian Zenz - Senior Fellow in China Studies, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Sophie Richardson - China Director, Human Rights Watch On our radar A journalist in Pakistan is abducted by mysterious armed men and then released. In Zimbabwe, a journalist is arrested. Both men seemingly targeted for criticising people in power. Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Nic Muirhead about both these cases. Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire: Stereotyping Black women in media The stereotyping of Black women in the media and the push for change in an industry where diversity and inclusion have been too long in coming. Contributors: Kovie Biakolo - Culture writer and multiculturalism scholar Francesca Sobande - Lecturer of Digital Media Studies, Cardiff University Naeemah Clark - Professor of Cinema and Television Arts, Elon University and Author, Diversity in US Mass Media Babirye Bukilwa - Actor and playwright - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Polarised and Partisan: Polish Media and Presidential Election | The Listening Post (Full)
Jul 18 2020 26 mins  
Polish voters have re-elected President Andrzej Duda to another term in office and the state broadcaster Telewijza Polska (TVP) was instrumental in his media campaign. To many Poles, TVP could just as well be Telewizja Propaganda - the channel backed Duda to the hilt, and helped him scrape through with a 51 percent victory. Privately owned news outlets have been far more critical of Duda, so the president and his backers have tried to delegitimise those platforms over their foreign ownership. They have played the xenophobia card, suggesting that German investors in Polish media companies were trying to swing the election. Now the Law and Justice party government is talking about the "repolonisation" of the country's privately-owned media - thinly disguised code for "nationalisation". Contributors: Daniel Tilles - editor-in-chief, Notes from Poland Dominika Sitnicka - journalist, OKO.press Krzysztof Skowronski - host, TVP and president, Polish Journalists Association Michal Broniatowski - journalist, Onet.pl and coordinator, POLITICO (Poland) On our radar Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about the crackdown on OMN, a major Ethiopian news network that has been covering mass protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government. Ghassan Kanafani and the era of revolutionary Palestinian media Some of the biggest names in the world of literature - Dickens, Hemingway, Garcia Marquez - got their start in journalism. Their reporting tends to be forgotten; their prose is what lives on. Ghassan Kanafani is a name you can add to that list. Kanafani was a Palestinian writer who, through books like Men in the Sun, humanised the Palestinian condition, of dispossession and displacement. He was, however, first and foremost a journalist. He was also a product of 1960s Beirut - a period when the city was a magnet for young reporters, revolutionaries, migrants and misfits, as well as host to the Palestinian leadership in exile. It was in Beirut that Kanafani produced Al Hadaf, a forward-thinking Palestinian magazine, that has been somewhat lost in the mists of time. The Listening Post's Tariq Nafi reports from Beirut on the legacy of Ghassan Kanafani and the era of Palestinian revolutionary media. Contributors: Refqa Abu-Remaileh - professor of modern Arabic literature and film, Free University of Berlin Elias Khoury - novelist and playwright As'ad AbuKhalil - professor of political science, California State University - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/




Power, politics and the pandemic: The Sino-American media divide | The Listening Post (Full)
Jul 11 2020 26 mins  
COVID-19 has the world's two most powerful countries, the United States and China, staring each other down. So far, it has, for the most part, been a war of words and soundbites - a blame game over the origins of the pandemic and each side's response to it, with the news media serving as the primary battleground. The Chinese and American media industries are ideological opposites - one operating under the watch of Communist Party censors, the other under a capitalist free market dominated by a handful of conglomerates. News outlets in both countries have, however, found their own ways to bolster the talking points of their respective governments. The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi on how the geopolitical reverberations of COVID-19 have been covered on each side of the Sino-American media divide. Contributors: Chris Buckley - chief China correspondent, The New York Times Wang Wen - executive director, China-US People-to-People Exchange Research Center and former opinion editor, Global Times Vijay Prashad - director, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Author, The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South Bingchun Meng - associate professor of media and communications, LSE and author, The Politics of Chinese Media Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian - China reporter, Axios Talking to CGTN When Beijing wants to take its message to the world it has a state-funded, multilanguage television news channel at its disposal. CGTN broadcasts in more than 100 countries - reaching 30 million homes in the US alone - with the stated aim of bringing "a Chinese perspective to global news". But going global has made the network subject to various local rules and regulations. Early last year, for instance, Washington compelled CGTN to register as a foreign agent in the US. To hear the CGTN side of the story, The Listening Post's Richard Gizbert spoke to Zou Yue, the anchor of the network's flagship talk show, Dialogue. Contributor: Zou Yue - anchor, CGTN - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Framing the self: The rise of the bookshelf aesthetic | The Listening Post (Feature)
Jul 05 2020 9 mins  
As the coronavirus has caused TV channels to cut back on in-studio interviews, pundits and politicians - and the rest - have been left to their own devices on how best to frame themselves in their "natural environments". Enter the bookshelf - seemingly the perfect solution. Not only does it texturise the background behind a talking head, but it gives off the impression that the person is full of bookish knowledge. "A lot of people actually work in studies and have home studies - often they're situated in environments that actually are full of books," says Tamar Garb, professor of art history at University College London. "But at the same time, you can also see when a background has been really contrived." After all, selecting your bookshelf backdrop is an exercise in self-branding - presenting selective aspects of yourself before you have said a word. "There are all kinds of pundits who want to signal their authority by displaying very big historical books," says Hussein Kesvani, a journalist who writes about online culture, adding that French economist Thomas Piketty's tome Capital and the Russian novel War and Peace are two intellectual heavyweights that he has frequently noticed in backgrounds. Bookshelves as backgrounds - and as a marker of authority - date back to the late 19th century when European portrait artists started to paint their subjects engulfed by books, says Professor Garb. "This was the moment of the emergence of the writer and critic as an independent professional in the context of the growth of [the] publishing [industry]." In 1879, French impressionist Edgar Degas painted the critic Edmund Duranty completely engulfed by books and in 1868, Edouard Manet, another French painter, did a portrait of the writer Emile Zola sat beside a table piled with books. Jim al-Khalili, British physics professor and broadcaster, has been doing all of his work from his home study and conducts his Zoom webinars and TV interviews in front of his bookshelf. Almost all of the books behind him are his own, which, he says, was unintentional. "These books behind me are the hidden away books in my study" as opposed to the library downstairs, al-Khalili said. "It just so happens that now that I'm doing interviews they're even more public than the ones downstairs so I've made a mistake there." Whether contrived or not, intentional or unintentional, the proliferation of book-flaunting has led to a new genre of media critique: bookshelf analysis. As media guests let us into their personal spaces, audiences - many who have more time on their hands and need some light-hearted distraction - are weighing in. Twitter accounts set up during lockdown have amassed thousands of followers and are wryly analysing bookshelves and their owners based on the mess, the organisation, the colour schemes and the books themselves. As Kesvani told us, "It's an immediately relatable concept and it's a concept that is quite fun, considering that the reasons we are currently all indoors is very grim." The Listening Post's Flo Philips reports on how the bookshelf became the ideal backdrop, for producers, presenters and pundits alike. Contributors: Tamar Garb - professor of art history, UCL Bernie Hogan - senior research fellow, Oxford Internet Institute Hussein Kesvani - culture and technology journalist Alex Christofi - editorial director, Transworld Books


The Great Facebook Boycott: Will it make any difference? | The Listening Post (Full)
Jul 04 2020 26 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: Big brands are part of an advertising boycott against Facebook over racist content and hate speech. Plus, lockdown TV puts bookshelves in the spotlight. The Great Facebook Boycott: Will it make any difference? The two biggest news stories of 2020 - the coronavirus pandemic and the racial inequality protests - have triggered what the United Nations calls a "tsunami" of hate speech - a surge in xenophobia online. The social media platforms involved now find themselves the focus of an advertising boycott - a campaign called "Stop Hate for Profit" - that is designed to get them to clean up their act, by hitting them where it hurts. The primary target has been Facebook. For years, Mark Zuckerberg and company have resisted demands to take a more active approach - a harder line - to moderating hateful content. Ninety-nine percent of Facebook's revenue - $70bn last year - reportedly comes from advertising. However, given Facebook's size, the boycott is unlikely to seriously damage its bottom line, at least in the short term. Contributors: Shoshana Wodinsky - enterprise reporter, Gizmodo Nadine Strossen - professor, New York Law School and former president, ACLU Jessica Gonzalez - Stop Hate for Profit campaign and co-CEO, Free Press Sarah Roberts - Center for Critical Inquiry, UCLA and author, Behind the Screen On our radar Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about China's new national security law for Hong Kong and its implications for the media; plus, the Iranian journalist sentenced to death simply for doing his job. Framing the self: The rise of the bookshelf aesthetic With the pandemic forcing so many of us to work from home, all kinds of talking heads - news anchors, interviewees, pundits and politicians - have had to redefine their "natural environments". So you have been seeing a lot of bookshelves. They are the perfect solution. They provide a little visual texture - they do not distract - and they create the impression, true or not, that the talking head has actually read the books, maybe even written some of them. Creating a backdrop is an exercise in self-branding - it sends a message and speaks to your alleged credibility before you say a word. And this book-flaunting has led to a new genre of media critique: bookshelf analysis. The Listening Post's Flo Phillips reports on judging a person by their bookish backdrop. Contributors: Tamar Garb - professor of art history, UCL Bernie Hogan - senior research fellow, Oxford Internet Institute Hussein Kesvani - culture and technology journalist Alex Christofi - editorial director, Transworld Books - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Ertugrul: Turkish TV's Ottoman phenomenon goes global | The Listening Post (Feature)
Jun 28 2020 8 mins  
Every nation has a trove of stories - alluring, magnetic narratives that are retold time and again. In Turkey, over the past decade or so, Ottoman history - the opulence, conquests and power - has been one of the most popular storylines across media, especially on TV. "The recent interest in Ottoman stories and Ottoman narratives is not something out of air or without context - it has a historical background," Burak Ozcetin, Associate Professor at Istanbul Bilgi University told The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi. "Turkey is a society in constant change, constant flux. In times of crisis especially, history plays a significant role in creation of identities. The rising interest in the Ottoman past in terms of TV dramas has been a really, really important phenomenon." The demand for Ottoman stories on TV has gone far beyond Turkey. With five seasons, more than 400 episodes and hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, Dirilis: Ertugrul, or Resurrection: Ertugrul, is one of Turkey's biggest television exports yet, and has helped put Turkey among the top exporters of TV content in the world. Set in the 13th century during the founding of the Ottoman empire, the show has helped launch a wave of nostalgia and fascination for the era that has become known as "Neo-Ottoman Cool". "'Neo-Ottoman Cool' is a term that I and my colleague Marwan Kraidy coined to reflect that new image of Turkey that started perhaps around 15 years ago," says Omar Al-Ghazzi, Assistant Professor at London School of Economics and co-author of the academic article Neo-Ottoman Cool: Turkish Popular Culture in the Arab Public Sphere. "It demonstrated that shift of perception from Turkey as an enemy to Turkey as a model ... Turkish soft power was perhaps at its height with the rise of President Erdogan - this went hand-in-hand with the popularity of Turkish popular culture, particularly Turkish TV series." "Dirilis: Ertugrul being popular specifically in the Middle East and the Muslim world is fascinating," says Senem Cevik, Lecturer in International Studies at UC Irvine. "A show that is produced by a Muslim country, a Muslim regional power is very important, and having those characters in the shows that are powerful, strong, defenders of their nations and their tribes is something I think I would say the Muslim world is looking for." For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Party, reconnecting with the Ottoman era has been central to their messaging. Erdogan has pushed a notion of continuity from the Ottoman sultans through to himself and TV dramas such as Dirilis: Ertugrul and Payitaht: Abdulhamid - both commissioned by Turkey's state broadcaster TRT - have aligned nicely with the AK Party's communications strategy. "They are, in a way, rewriting the Ottoman history for the current Turkish public. They're trying to showcase a type of history that is continuous from the Ottoman Empire to the current Turkish republic in a way that it elevates the Ottoman history," says Ozcetin. "'Neo-Ottoman Cool' is directly related with the Turkish Republic's quest for enlarging its sphere of influence in the region, both politically, economically and culturally." Contributors: Burak Ozcetin - Associate Professor, Istanbul Bilgi University Senem Cevik - Lecturer in International Studies, UC Irvine Omar Al-Ghazzi - Assistant Professor, LSE and Co-author, Neo-Ottoman Cool: Turkish Popular Culture in the Arab Public Sphere - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/



Sino-Indian clash: Disputed border, divided media | The Listening Post (Full)
Jun 27 2020 24 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: Chinese and Indian media take opposite tacks to reporting the deadly clash between troops along the border. Plus, Turkish TV dramas and "neo-Ottoman cool". Sino-Indian clash: Disputed border, divided media The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, are dealing with the fallout of their first deadly border clash in almost half a century. Twenty Indian soldiers were reportedly killed, some clubbed to death, by Chinese forces. We know practically nothing else about the story - that is because the confrontation took place in the middle of nowhere at an altitude of 14,000 feet (about 4,300 metres), on a Himalayan mountain that journalists cannot get to, and because the two governments are saying very little. Indian media are speculating, calling for boycotts, and urging their politicians to wage an economic war against China. On the other side, the coverage is almost non-existent. This is a story about narratives - two governments that, in their own ways, are out to keep a lid on this conflict before it gets out of hand. Contributors: Natasha Badhwar - Author, filmmaker and contributing writer, Tribune India Aadil Brar - Journalist Kapil Komireddi - Journalist and author, Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India Steve Tsang - Director, SOAS China Institute On our radar Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about Stop Hate for Profit - a new campaign encouraging big-name brands to pull their ads from Facebook over the company's failure to remove hate speech from its platform. Ertugrul: Turkish TV's Ottoman phenomenon goes global Dirilis: Ertugrul (or Resurrection: Ertugrul) is one of Turkey's biggest television exports yet, and has helped cement Turkey among the top exporters of TV content in the world. It is an historical epic set in the 13th century during the founding of the Ottoman empire; with five seasons, more than 400 episodes, and hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, Dirilis: Ertugrul cashes in on a wave of nostalgia and fascination for an era that has become known as "Neo-Ottoman Cool". But given the topic, the time period and current geo-political events, there is a propagandistic feel to the show and others like it - one that plays right into the hands of Turkey's governing party, the AK Party, and President Erdogan's own brand of Turkish nationalism. The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi reports on how history, politics and entertainment collide in Turkey's Ottoman TV epics. Feature contributors: Burak Ozcetin - Associate Professor, Istanbul Bilgi University Senem Cevik - Lecturer in International Studies, UC Irvine Omar Al-Ghazzi - Assistant Professor, London School of Economics and Co-author, Neo-Ottoman Cool: Turkish Popular Culture in the Arab Public Sphere - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Belarusian bloggers: Breaking the media mould | The Listening Post (Feature)
Jun 21 2020 9 mins  
While governments across the globe were ordering citizens to stay home in the fight against COVID-19, Belarus's longtime leader, Alexander Lukashenko, was telling Belarusians to get on with life as normal. As one of Europe's last leaders to recognise that the virus exists - let alone kills - the strongman has ignored calls for lockdown measures, suggesting vodka, sauna treatments or tractor rides instead. But Belarusians know that infection rates keep rising, and that the death toll continues to climb. Not because they have heard it from their mainstream media - which was brought to heel long ago - but because they have found a new source of information: a group of bloggers that are telling the COVID-19 story the way it really is. "Due to censorship, Belarusians are extremely limited when it comes to accessing accurate information, especially from state institutions. During this pandemic, they are providing statistics that don't accurately reflect the number of deaths and infections. In this context, it's extremely important to have access to alternative sources of news, and that's why bloggers are so popular," Katerina Andreeva, a reporter for Belsat TV, told The Listening Post. Stepan Svyatlou - better known as NEXTA - is Belarus's most famous blogger. Videos and posts on his YouTube and Telegram channels regularly generate more than a million views. The past few months, he has focused on Lukashenko's mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis. But his efforts to hold those in power to account stretch far beyond this pandemic. "I cover crimes committed by officials and civil servants. I try to publish what isn't being printed by the state newspapers, or aired by the state broadcasters. We publish documents that are leaked to us by government insiders - information that discredits the authorities and lowers their ratings," says Svyatlou. The popularity of bloggers like NEXTA is making Lukashenko increasingly nervous, not least because their followers have started to mobilise on the streets. And with the presidential election just a couple of months away, that is the kind of dissent Lukashenko can do without. Andrei Bastunets, chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, explains that "the authorities have come to understand that blogs like Stepan Svyatlou's NEXTA, or Sergei Tikhanouski's Country for Life, don't just spread information, but the bloggers themselves are becoming the centre of attention, and they can actually influence politics, not just talk about it." The Listening Post's Johanna Hoes reports on Belarusian bloggers, and their efforts to bring about political change that is long overdue. Feature Contributors: Stepan Svyatlou - Founder, NEXTA Andrei Bastunets - Chair, Belarusian Association of Journalists Katerina Andreeva - Reporter, Belsat TV - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


COVID-19 in Russia: Fake News and Forced Confessions | The Listening Post (Full)
Jun 20 2020 26 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: The selective application of a "fake news" law in Russia leaves journalists and citizens vulnerable. Plus, bloggers in Belarus take on the role of journalists. COVID-19 in Russia: Fake News and Forced Confessions Russia is currently in third place in the list of countries with the most confirmed coronavirus cases. The official figure exceeds half a million. But that is in dispute as is the country's fatality rate which, last month, was seven times below the global average. Truth is a casualty of the coronavirus war and the Kremlin itself is trying to get a grip on a glut of conspiracy theories and fake news about COVID-19 that gets shared online and then seeps into mainstream reporting. On April 1, the government equipped itself for the job. President Vladimir Putin hastily signed off on legal changes that enable the authorities to go after those they accuse of spreading fake news. Which, when you examine some of the sketchy COVID-related data being produced by the Russian government, is a little rich. Contributors: Liliya Yapparova - Investigative Journalist, Meduza Vlad Strukov - Professor, University of Leeds Precious Chatterje-Doody - Lecturer, Open University Sarkis Darbinyan - Chief Legal Officer, Roskomsvoboda On our radar Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about the six-year prison sentence Filipino journalist Maria Ressa now faces, and; the way Chinese and Indian media have covered clashes at the Sino-Indian border. Belarusian bloggers: Breaking the media mould What do you do if you are from Belarus and want to learn about the pandemic? You have a president, Alexander Lukashenko, who has long refused to accept the existence of COVID-19, let alone that it was killing people. Your mainstream news outlets are no good to you - the president brought them to heel long ago and they are telling people to get on with life as normal. So you go online - YouTube, Telegram - where bloggers are doing the job of journalists. Engaging young audiences, giving them the data they need right now and making President Lukashenko nervous, since he has an election coming up. The Listening Post's Johanna Hoes reports on Belarus's bloggers, the kind of work they do and the impact they are having in a country where political change has been a long time in coming. Contributors: Stepan Svyatlou - Founder, NEXTA Andrei Bastunets - Chair, Belarusian Association of Journalists Ekaterina Andreeva - Reporter, Belsat TV - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Felicien Kabuga: The man behind Rwanda's hate media | The Listening Post (Feature)
Jun 14 2020 9 mins  
After 26 years on the run, Felicien Kabuga - the man accused of being one of the key figures behind Rwanda's genocide - was arrested in Paris on May 16, 2020. A French court has ruled that he will be sent to Arusha, Tanzania to be tried in the United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He has been indicted on two counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of genocide, including "the direct and public incitement to commit genocide". That count relates to his part in setting up and funding Radio Mille Collines, or RTLM, Rwanda’s infamous radio station that played a key role in the genocide. RTLM started broadcasting in August 1993. As president of the station, Kabuga oversaw RTLM’s editorial agenda - an agenda that, from the outset, called for Rwanda’s majority Hutu population to “exterminate” the minority Tutsis. “It was a radio station run by genocide ideologues and all day long it was used to insult and demonise Tutsis, to say that they were a cancer,” recalls Jean-Pierre Sagahutu, a Tutsi who told The Listening Post’s Nicholas Muirhead that he survived the genocide by hiding in a septic tank for two months and 15 days. From the outset, one of RTLM’s key objectives was to radicalise the Hutu youth - they would come to be relied upon to carry out most of the killings. As a new station on the Rwandan airwaves, RTLM needed to recruit listeners and the strategy Kabuga and his co-founders put in place was to play popular music to attract the young. The songs would then be interspersed with hate messages about the Tutsis. Tom Ndahiro is a Rwandan academic and expert on the genocide. He says that the music - which often contained lyrics of Hutu extremism - served a dual purpose because when the killings began, RTLM would continue playing the songs as a way of alleviating the perpetrators’ guilt. “It's evil genius, how do you entertain killers as a way of taking away the guilt? This is what RTLM did,” says Ndahiro. RTLM also helped to coordinate the killings. Catherine Bond was one of the few international journalists in Rwanda during the early stages of the genocide. After joining a convoy of French troops travelling into the centre of Kigali, she witnessed groups of Rwandans lining the streets. They had been called out of their houses by RTLM to greet the French troops - but it was all a ploy. “People had come out of their houses who were Tutsis in hiding,” remembers Bond, “and the Hutu militiamen had been able to identify them and had moved in and killed them.” The genocide lasted 100 days, claiming the lives of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Kabuga, along with many of the perpetrators, was able to flee Rwanda. He managed to disappear from public life, however his legacy - and the legacy of RTLM - would spread across the region. Multiple governments have since raised the spectre of Rwanda - and the hate messages broadcast on Radio Mille Collines - as justification to clamp down on media freedom in their own countries. History has already judged Felicien Kabuga. Now the courts will do the same. Contributors: Jean-Pierre Sagahutu - Genocide survivor Catherine Bond - Former journalist Tom Ndahiro - Genocide scholar - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Monuments of history or bigotry? The politics of statues | The Listening Post (Full)
Jun 13 2020 26 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: Should historic statues remain standing even if they celebrate racism and violence? Plus, the mastermind behind Rwanda's hate-spewing radio station is caught. Monuments of history or bigotry? The politics of statues The police killing of George Floyd, a Black American, and the weeks of protests that followed in the United States have sent ripples across the Atlantic. The defining image of the demonstrations in the UK has been the toppling of a statue in the port city of Bristol; a monument to Edward Colston, a slave trader whose wealth helped build the city. Colston's fall has offended those who say you cannot erase the past and that those who profited from slavery should not be judged by today's moral standards. Tell that to the thousands of British demonstrators, not just people of colour, who are out to tell the real story about Britain's role in the formation of the slave trade - the legacy of which spans the globe. Contributors: Maya Goodfellow - Author, Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats Adam Elliot-Cooper - Research Associate, University of Greenwich Priyamvada Gopal - Author, Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent Kadian Pow - Lecturer, Birmingham City University On our radar: Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about a racist cartoon put out by the Japanese public broadcaster, NHK; and the US broadcasters reconsidering what television shows are appropriate viewing. Felicien Kabuga: The man behind Rwanda's hate media While the media have been preoccupied with the pandemic, some important news stories have gone under-reported. One of those stories took place on May 16: the arrest, in France, of a man named Felicien Kabuga. Kabuga is accused of being a key figure behind the 1994 genocide in Rwanda which claimed the lives of about one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Kabuga set up and funded Radio Mille Collines, a station that now lives in infamy. RTLM, as it was known, laid the groundwork for the genocide with its incessant stigmatisation of the Tutsis and went on to play a key role in coordinating the killings. The Listening Post's Nic Muirhead tells the story of Felicien Kabuga and the hate media of Rwanda's genocide. Contributors: Jean-Pierre Sagahutu - Genocide survivor Catherine Bond - Former journalist Tom Ndahiro - Genocide scholar - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Caught on camera: Police brutality and racism in Trump's America | The Listening Post (Full)
Jun 08 2020 26 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: How the video of a Black man's murder set the United States ablaze. Plus, drone investigations from on high. Caught on camera: Police brutality and racism in Trump's America Racially charged social unrest has been sweeping America on a scale not seen in decades. Showdowns are taking place in city after city between demonstrators and police, as authoritarian noises and tactics come from the Trump White House. From the phone camera that captured the police killing of George Floyd, to Twitter flagging how dangerous the president's tweets can be, to all those videos showing police attacking journalists and then finally to the lengths that the White House will go to to get a photo opportunity - there is no shortage of media angles to this story. Contributors: Siva Vaidhyanathan - Author, Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy Meredith Clark - Assistant Professor in Media Studies, University of Virginia Tiffany Cross - Author, Say It Louder! Black Voters, White Narratives and Saving Our Democracy Mary Frances Berry - Professor of American Social Thought, University of Pennsylvania On our radar: Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about how the demonstrations in the US have delivered the perfect opportunity for some international media - for example, state-run outlets in Iran and China - to take pot shots at America. Eyes in the sky: Gathering evidence with drones Sometimes capturing an image or a single video can have a transformative effect. Anyone contending with state violence, whether they are in Minneapolis, Hong Kong or the Middle East, knows that sometimes all they need to make their case - to expose illegality - is the right picture. But there are some places that satellites and phones cannot go. That is where drones come in. Television journalists love drone images for the perspective and scope they provide. Advertisers use them for their cinematic quality and effect on consumers. But drones are also being used to provide irrefutable, photographic evidence of human rights abuses and illegality. The Listening Post's Tariq Nafi looks at drones and how they are being used in investigations across the world. Feature contributors: Josh Lyons - Director of Geospatial Analysis, Human Rights Watch Juan Bergelund - CEO, UAV del Peru and Country Manager, Peru Flying Labs Kelly Matheson - Human rights attorney and Director, Video as Evidence programme, Witness - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Eyes in the sky: Gathering evidence with drones | The Listening Post (Feature)
Jun 07 2020 9 mins  
Sometimes the capturing of an image or a single video can have a transformative effect. George Floyd's killing is an example. The eight-minute, 46-second video speaks for itself. That is why it sent so many Americans onto the streets. And anyone contending with state violence, whether they are in Minneapolis, Hong Kong or the Middle East, knows that sometimes all they need to prove their point - to expose illegality - is the right picture. That is why mobile phone footage fills news broadcasts. It is why journalists and investigators have turned to images from space - satellite pictures - to expose China's secret Uighur prison camps. However, there are some places where satellites and phones cannot go; the space between. That is where drones come in. The Listening Post's Tariq Nafi spoke with three voices from different fields, on how drones are being used to provide irrefutable photographic evidence of human rights abuses and illegality. "Drones give you a very exciting ability to collect not just powerful, graphic and compelling imagery and video," Josh Lyons, Geospatial Analyst at Human Rights Watch explained, "but new types of information that we haven't collected before and really couldn't have collected before." Lyons recently tested the limits of this technology in northeast Syria, descending into what was once a natural beauty spot - al-Hota gorge - and has since become a place of reckoning and death. It was a drone that exposed that ISIL, also known as ISIS, had turned a family picnic spot into a mass grave. "What it showed us was something we had not expected. Bodies, human remains, that were obviously fresh," says Lyons. "And it was clear from the imagery that these people had been thrown into al-Hota within the last two weeks approximately. And so it raised a whole range of new questions. Who put these bodies in there? Why are they there? And what lies below that water surface? But the drones also provided us with key bits of evidence that we needed to help argue and advance for professional forensic exhumation of this site." Drones let investigators reach places covertly, and see things, some would prefer to remain unseen - like illegality in the Amazon of Peru. That is where Juan Bergelund, Country Manager of Peru Flying Labs, is using drones to protect the environment and monitor illegal mining. "We can be in the air for two or three hours and then we can monitor everything that they [are] doing, without them even noticing," explains Bergelund. "So with all this information, we go through the authorities and we show what they were doing, not only this week, but the previous week, the previous month and so on. So that's why by combining all these new technologies we may be able to present the authorities with significant evidence." Combining mobile phone footage, satellite and drone imagery is the best way to build an airtight case, says Kelly Matheson, a human rights attorney with the NGO, Witness. The work she does revolves around how communities can use video evidence to bring about justice. Asked by The Listening Post what makes drone footage such a powerful medium, Matheson said: "From an environmental perspective, I think there's a lot of people out there who believe that we, as humanity, can't destroy the world. We don't have that power, the Earth is too powerful and will bounce back. But I think often times when you see that drone footage of the destruction that's happening right before our eyes, it allows us to imagine the unimaginable. It allows us to observe what can't otherwise readily be observed. And I think it's powerful for us to be able to see how we are destroying the planet and in turn destroying our own chances of survival." - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


AI and our health data: A pandemic threat to our privacy | The Listening Post (Full)
May 30 2020 26 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: The pandemic gives big tech firms a chance to access the holy grail of datasets - your medical records. Plus, science journalists and their sources. AI and our health data: A pandemic threat to our privacy Put yourself in the shoes of the NHS, the United Kingdom's tax-payer funded public health service. You treat about a million patients every 36 hours and that is pre-pandemic. The amount of health data you are now churning out is enormous - and you want to harness that data in the fight against COVID-19. So you turn to the private sector and get technology companies to help you do that. Seems to make sense, but here is the issue: Companies with chequered histories over data handling start landing those contracts. And, to date, the British government has refused to disclose the contractual terms. Information does not get any more personal than your health data. And, in the midst of this pandemic, the British public has been left in the dark on where that data is going - and what these companies and the government might be able to do with it, down the road. Contributors: Mona Sloane - fellow, Institute for Public Knowledge, NYU Cori Crider - director, Foxglove Phil Booth - co-ordinator, MedConfidential Bryan Glick - editor-in-chief, Computer Weekly On our radar: Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about local television stations in the United States filing the exact same story on the world's largest retailer, Amazon and its handling of COVID-19 in the workplace - plus the major media players in Brazil who are boycotting Bolsonaro's briefings. Science journalism in the spotlight For months now, journalists around the world have been on a crash course in reporting on medical science. They had no experience in covering a pandemic and we have documented some of the shortcomings in their reporting. Now we are turning to journalists with some actual credentials in this field: Science and health reporters. In many cases, they were the first to recognise the dangers of the outbreak in Wuhan, leaving the rest of us to play catch up. Historically underappreciated, and usually underrepresented in newsrooms, science and health reporters now find their expertise is in demand. But their rise to prominence has been accompanied by a new level of scrutiny in the kind of work they do. And their critics are coming out of the woodwork. The Listening Post's Flo Phillips talks to three science journalists about the highs - and lows - of covering the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributors: Helen Branswell - senior infectious disease reporter, STAT News Kai Kupferschmidt - contributing correspondent, Science Magazine Vidya Krishnan - health and science journalist - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/



Science journalism in the spotlight | The Listening Post (Feature)
May 31 2020 9 mins  
For months now, journalists around the world have been on a crash course in reporting on medical science. But they had no experience in covering a pandemic. Now we are turning to journalists with some actual credentials in this field: science and health reporters. In many cases, they were the first to recognise the dangers of the outbreak in Wuhan, leaving the rest of us to play catch-up. The Listening Post's Flo Phillips spoke with three science journalists, from three different countries, about how they sounded the alarm on the virus that would come to be known as COVID-19. "It was something I definitely thought we needed to be watching," Helen Branswell, Senior Infectious Disease Reporter for STAT news explained. "The reports out of China were starting to become alarming because the numbers were growing pretty quickly. So if you watch these kinds of outbreaks over time, this was something that was setting off alarm bells." And in fact, many of these reporters have been watching out for these types of outbreaks for years. Back in 2013, Kai Kupferschmidt, a contributing correspondent for Science magazine, wrote an article about a bat in China carrying a potential pandemic. "Again and again, in the last 10 years or so, when I was doing my reporting, this sentence came up from scientists," Kupferschmidt said. "They were telling me, you know, it's not a question of if there will be a big pandemic. The question is when." Since the outbreak, science journalists have been relentlessly reporting. They have introduced audiences to concepts such as flattening the curve and social distancing; they have explained the need for lockdowns and mass testing, and; they have challenged governments on their pandemic responses. For their efforts, many have witnessed skyrocketing readership and online followings. But this new attention has come with a price, as political polarisation can often taint the information and lead to ad hominem attacks. "They want the reporting to be in line with the politics so that it doesn't make India look bad", said Vidya Krishnan, a health and science journalist from the country. "The minute the story goes online, we have government handles and politicians attacking individual reporters and questioning our integrity and dismissing the story without actually pointing out what's wrong factually that's being put out." In the United States, a similar picture has emerged. "One of the things that I found tragic about this pandemic and the coverage of the pandemic is how politicised the whole thing has become," said Branswell. "Which side of the divide people fall on relates to which party they support. There's a deep misunderstanding of what's going on in certain parts of the country." With COVID-19 becoming as much about the politics as it is about the science, many science journalists have been left out of the daily press briefings - hardly the best use of available resources when the story you are covering is a pandemic. "I'm not sure that science journalists need to take the lead, but I certainly think they should be at the table," said Kupferschmidt. "There are a lot of important questions that science journalists know to ask that political journalists don't know to ask. It just seems like this press conference would really profit if there were also science journalists there." Contributors: Helen Branswell - Senior Infectious Disease Reporter, STAT Kai Kupferschmidt - Contributing Correspondent, Science magazine Vidya Krishnan - Health and Science Journalist - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


Listen, Watch, Learn: Peru's school system takes to the airwaves | The Listening Post (Feature)
May 24 2020 9 mins  
March 16, 2020, was the day Peruvian parents, teachers, and students had been preparing for - the beginning of the new school year. But on March 15, the president appeared on national TV to declare a state of emergency and a strict nationwide lockdown. "One day I got a call from the chairman of the network," Fatima Saldonid, a journalist and newsreader on the public broadcaster, TV Peru, told The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi. "He told me schools were being shut, and the Education Ministry had asked us to produce an education-from-home programme. Then he said, 'you're going to be one of the presenters'. Well, I like a challenge, so I said, 'Let's do it!'" To call it a "challenge" would be an understatement; Aprendo en Casa (I Learn at Home) aims to put on air the core syllabus of Peru's primary and secondary school curricula, amounting to six hours of TV programming every weekday. While other countries have experimented with delivering classes to children online, authorities in Peru knew this was not an option for a country where more than 40 percent of the population does not have internet access. "Television is one of the most used mediums," explains Diana Marchena, planning coordinator at Peru's Ministry of Education. "The internet doesn't have the same reach here as television, so we were determined that a child's progress must not depend on whether they have access to the internet." To ensure Aprendo en Casa could reach as many children in the country as possible, the government coordinated closely not only with TV Peru, but with private channels and radio stations as well. "No one could have guessed this sort of thing could happen," says Ernesto Cortes, general manager of the RPP Group, a private network of TV channels and radio stations that are helping to broadcast Aprendo en Casa. "I can't recall a situation in which, for the shared goal of public education, both private and public media have united... I think it's the first time for something of this magnitude." The show has proven to be a hit, quickly becoming one of the most-watched TV programmes in Peru. It has provided schoolteachers across the country with a vital resource with which to maintain the progress of their students. "Watching the TV broadcasts, I am struck by how dynamic the presenters are!" says Victor Zapata, a schoolteacher in the capital, Lima. Every day, he tells his students to watch the show and assigns tasks based on the broadcast. "TV has lots of resources, and they are making the most of them. A teacher in a classroom does not have such resources. Of course, if I had them, I'd use them gladly!" But some have struggled to benefit. "The children I teach have nowhere near the same resources that children in cities have," says Marlith Norabuena, a teacher in rural Peru. "For example, when it rains or there are changes in the weather, the TV, radio and internet signals - which are already very weak - just stop working altogether." While the limitations of the government's strategy have highlighted deep structural inequality in the country, the success of Aprendo en Casa has demonstrated the power of the media, both public and private, to improve prospects for young people in Peru. "With Aprendo en Casa we're at the start of a new process," says Saldonid. "We have an opportunity to take a fresh look at education ... We have a great chance to create the kind of society we aspire to. But to get there, we need to work from the ground up. And society's foundations are its children." Produced by: Meenakshi Ravi, Luciano Gorriti and Ahmed Madi Contributors: Ernesto Cortes - General manager, RPP Group Diana Marchena - Planning coordinator, Ministry of Education, Peru Victor Zapata - Lima-based secondary school teacher Fatima Saldonid - Presenter, Aprendo en Casa and broadcaster, TV Peru Marlith Norabuena - Rural school teacher More: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/


The Conspiracy Virus: COVID-19 misinformation in the US | The Listening Post
May 23 2020 25 mins  
On The Listening Post this week: How a conspiracy documentary hijacked US social media and fuelled misinformation on COVID-19. Plus: Peru and the art of digital homeschooling. COVID-19 misinformation in US So much about this pandemic remains unknown, which is why reporting on it is so challenging. A lack of scientific consensus, heavy-handed government policies, and lockdown-induced economic woes have resulted in a wave of fear, anxiety, and powerlessness - perfect conditions for misinformation and conspiracy theories to thrive. The US is ground zero for a lot of these theories, not least because the president and outlets like Fox News have long trafficked in them. There is a market for conspiracy theories; one that can turn a discredited scientist and an obscure filmmaker into an internet phenomenon. The Listening Post takes a look at 'Plandemic' - the viral sensation of COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Contributors: Joe Uscinski - co-author, American Conspiracy Theories Joan Donovan - research director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University Will Sommer - tech reporter, The Daily Beast Jared Yates Sexton - author & analyst On our radar: Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Nic Muirhead about a recent buyout in Italy meaning that Fiat automobiles now controls one of Italy's biggest newspapers - La Repubblica - and with it, a shift in editorial tone. Listen, Watch, Learn: Peru's school system takes to airwaves In many countries, it is still far too early to send children back to school. Take Peru, for instance; with more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, it has the second most of any Latin American country, behind Brazil. One area where Peru seems to have fared better is education. Within three weeks of declaring a national lockdown, and with the collaboration of both public and private broadcasters, the Peruvian government brought to air Aprendo en Casa, or I Learn at Home - six hours of educational programming, every weekday. The goal is to make the entirety of both the primary and secondary school curricula available to all students, including the millions without TV and internet access. The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi takes a look at Aprendo en Casa - the TV and radio platform that is schooling Peruvian kids during lockdown. Contributors: Ernesto Cortes - general manager, RPP Group Diana Marchena - planning coordinator, Education Ministry of Peru Víctor Zapata - Lima-based secondary school teacher Fátima Saldonid - presenter, Aprendo en Casa & Broadcaster, TV Perú Marlith Norabuena - rural school teacher - - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


India's lockdown: Narratives of inequality and Islamophobia | The Listening Post (Full)
May 19 2020 26 mins  
On this episode of The Listening Post: India's lockdown has magnified two of the country's most serious social ills: inequality and Islamophobia. Plus, what is it like to photograph the coronavirus pandemic? India's lockdown: Narratives of inequality and Islamophobia India is now one month into the world's biggest lockdown. Just hours before it was announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with media owners and editors and asked them to "serve as a link between the government and people" - in other words, to produce positive news stories. Simple request or tacit warning? The pandemic has also exacerbated a chronic condition in Indian news media - Islamophobia. Some outlets have even accused Muslims of creating and spreading the virus, a hateful narrative that not only plays right into the hands of Modi's BJP government, but also leaves millions bereft of potentially lifesaving information. Contributors: Pragya Tiwari - Delhi-based writer Betwa Sharma - politics editor, HuffPost India Barkha Dutt - editor, Mojo Arfa Khanum Sherwani - senior editor, The Wire On our radar: Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about contact tracing - the hi-tech means of tracking the COVID-19 outbreak - and why European countries are struggling to implement it. Portrait of a pandemic: Capturing the spaces we call home Lockdown has changed everything - millions have been confined to their homes and public spaces have been left deserted. While journalists, like everyone else, have struggled to adapt to new and unprecedented working conditions, photojournalists have found opportunity amid the adversity. The Listening Post's Flo Phillips talks to three photographers - each with a unique perspective on life under lockdown - and how it has changed the way we inhabit the spaces in which we live. Contributors: Marzio Toniolo - teacher and photographer Phil Penman - photographer Ravi Choudhary - photographer, Press Trust of India - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/


1 • 1 Ratings

Fearg May 08 2020
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